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Roskam laments growing debt; Hultgren keys on small business

AURORA – U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, said he believes the U.S. needs to deal with its $16 trillion in debt sooner rather than later.

“Either we deal with our debt, or our debt will deal with us,” Roskam told those in attendance at Monday’s multichamber of commerce legislative breakfast at Pipers Banquets in Aurora.

Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, Elburn and Sugar Grove chambers were among those involved in the event.

Roskam and U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield, briefed audience members about the issues discussed in the nation’s capital.

Roskam said he is disappointed the U.S. Senate has not been able to pass a budget in three years.

“Budgets are miserable documents,” Roskam said. “They are limiting. But budgets mean that you are leading. They are important.”

Another issue facing lawmakers is Medicare reform.

“Medicare trustees have said Medicare will be insolvent in 12 years,” Roskam said.

Roskam said the issue needs to be addressed, despite the heat that lawmakers might face from constituents.

In answering questions from the audience, Roskam said he wants to abolish the estate tax.

“I don’t think it is right for death to be a taxable event,” he said.

Roskam said his priorities include rewriting the tax code.

He is running for re-election in the 6th District, which includes part of Kane County.

“I think we can do it in a way that creates competition, but good competition,” he said.

Hultgren said he wants to make sure small businesses succeed.

“I want our big businesses to do well, but I really want small businesses to do well,” he said. “That’s the core of our economy.”

He said one obstacle to business expansion is excessive government regulation.

“We’ve got regulation on the books that maybe made sense 20 years ago but doesn’t now,” Hultgren said.

He also had ideas about health care and how it should be managed.

“The problem is that we have lost control of costs,” Hultgren said. “I want to see that a doctor and patient will make decisions. It should be patient-focused and not bureaucratically controlled.”

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